I am not sure if I related this fact about myself: I am a Chaplain in STARFLEET International, the world’s largest Star Trek fan association.
Attached are the exams I took as part of my Chaplain training in SFI.
Rev. Russell Witte-Dycus
Master of chaplaincy Lesson 2
I had the privilege of being part of Willow Creek Church in the early years. In those years I spent some time with all the leaders. Bill Hybels always struck me as ‘set apart’, there was a quality about him that could only be described as lead by the Spirit.
I have been told I have the Hand of God upon me, it was very evident in the first few years after my acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Now it more tempered, rational, and less confrontational, but it is still there. I get approached on a regular basis by people for spiritual guidance.
My calling is interesting. I have been called to be the spiritual leader of several groups. Those groups having members of different levels of spirituality and widely variant paths. My challenge there is to learn more so that I can properly minister to all those wonderful people.
My Officiant ministry has grown from a casual, occasional, something I do into a full-blown small business. I perform 30-40 weddings a year, a funeral and baptism occasionally. For instance, I have performed the weddings for all of one family’s children. I am one family’s ‘go to guy’ for funerals (thankfully not too many of those) and I have performed 3 of the last 4 funeral services for my own family.
Rev. Russ, the Rent A Preacher
My first conscious knowledge of "a chaplain" came from the TV show M.A.S.H. The army chaplain the character portrayed had a quite calm about him as he spiritually supported all ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations with non-judgement total acceptance.
I had no personal experience with a chaplain until my mother was placed in hospice. There was a chaplain at the hospital hospice who gave that same quiet strength during his visits. His quiet presence, a gentle touch all gave comfort and support. I watched him "just be" with patients who were close to transitioning and had no family to be with them. He held their hand, just breathing with them and praying. They were not alone when their soul returned to God.
Judaism does have chaplains who have advance Jewish studies such as Rabbis and Cantors. A lay person may also become a Chaplain, but only if they have completed advanced Jewish studies. All Jewish Chaplains must complete a year internship before becoming a Chaplain.
In my opinion, chaplains have a vital role in today's society. More and more people are not affiliated with an organized religion for a variety of reasons. People are more transient that ever, leading them to seek opportunities far away from the support of family and friends. The chaplain is available to minister to these people in a myriad of settings and situations.